Fuse is a board game I was able to play for the first time at SaltCon 2018. It’s a game that I’ve wanted to play for quite a while, but couldn’t justify buying until I had a chance to play it. In Fuse players take on the role of a bomb defusal team that is attempting to disarm a series of bombs before they all go off simultaneously.
Each bomb has a schematic, showing what is required to defuse it. You meet the requirements with dice. Throughout the game you pull a number of dice from the bag equal to the number of players and roll them. Each player’s schematics show what numbers, colors, or both will help them defuse their bombs. Players can claim dice and place them on their bomb cards to move forward defusing the bombs they’re working on. The problem is that any dice you don’t use also hurt you.
For instance, if we roll a black 1, but none of the bombs we’re defusing require a black die or a 1 we would have to put that die back into the bag. When we have to do that, everyone who is able to, must also discard either a black die or a 1 from their bomb cards. Using every die is essential, but often difficult.
When you completely defuse the bomb in front of you, set it aside and grab another one. The team cannot win until all of the bombs in the deck are defused. With only 10 minutes to complete the game, it’s a real challenge. We played 3 times at SaltCon and did not succeed once. It was a bit disheartening, but it was also really fun.
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Fuse’s Best Points
As a real-time game, Fuse moves fast. Many of my favorite games are heavy on the strategy, and as a result they take a lot of time to play. Once a game of Fuse starts, you know exactly how long you have until the game ends in a loss. And if you’re lucky and win, guess what? It’s even shorter. That means that you can pack 5 or 6 games into an hour. It makes for a great filler game.
Another great thing about Fuse is that although it can act as a great filler, it isn’t the light-hearted or unfocused fillers that many gamers have come to expect. This game is intense. You’re vying for the right dice, and still trying to collaborate. The number of bombs your team has to defuse combined with the time limit make this game intense and feel like a much heavier game than it really is.
I really enjoy the theme. The cards and dice really support the theme. Using a digital clock’s numbering style on the dice was smart and helps players get into the mood. Additionally, the schematic cards make each bomb different and add some really challenging, and still thematic elements.
Fuse’s Worst Points
Fuse is tough. It’s one of the most difficult cooperative games I’ve ever played. Some games are so difficult or unbalanced that I simply don’t believe it’s possible to win. This game, on the other hand, feels like a game we could win. We just need to think and move more quickly. That’s good, but it’s discouraging for new players to be defeated very soundly by the game.
Additionally, Fuse relies on die rolls. Dice hate me. It’s a fact. When I roll, I can roll a 1 on three out of four die rolls. It doesn’t even matter what kind of die I roll. So if I ever touch the dice in Fuse, we’re losing a bunch of the components we need to defuse our bombs. That reliance on luck often works in the game’s favor, but when I’m playing it’s a bit of a liability.
I bought Fuse recently, and I’d seriously recommend it. It’s tough, and if you have bad luck it’ll kick your butt. Even so, at least you’ll only be feeling the pain for ten minutes at a time. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up winning more often than me!
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